The Golden Knights have added a bit of cap flexibility as CapFriendly reports (Twitter link) that defenseman Nicolas Hague and center Brett Howden have been transferred to LTIR. Both players were injured last month and the placements have been dated retroactive accordingly – Hague to March 15th and Howden to March 21st. With the designations, both players have to miss at least 10 games and 24 days from the placement which means Hague is pretty close to being eligible to return already.
The moves boost Vegas’ usable LTIR space to just over $5MM which gives them enough flexibility to bring other players up from AHL Henderson if need be. The Golden Knights have an extra forward and defenseman on the roster already so no further reinforcements are necessary and if they did call someone up, it would count towards one of their four post-deadline regular recalls since they’re not in an emergency situation.
However, it’s worth noting that they’re still well short of being able to free up the money to activate winger Mark Stone off LTIR; they’re still $4.45MM short of that. Of course, they tried to preemptively free up some space at the trade deadline with the since-invalidated Evgenii Dadonov trade and would need to try to make a similar move if Stone becomes ready to return. That said, they now have enough room to activate winger Reilly Smith if and when he is cleared to play which would give the Golden Knights a boost offensively as they look to get back into the playoff picture although it would basically end Hague and Howden’s regular seasons as well; there is no set timetable for them to return.
The salary cap limits expire at the end of the regular season which is still three weeks away and it looks as if the Golden Knights will be tap-dancing around that until the final buzzer sounds.